ALTHOUGH West Ham United fans flocked to the London Stadium in a rather glum mood after hearing the agent of their club’s talisman insisting Marko Arnautovic wants to move to China, they left in high spirits.

Declan Rice, on his 55th appearance in professional football, scored the first goal of his career as the Hammers overcame Arsenal in an entertaining London derby.

Rice, who finally penned a new long-term deal last month, was deservedly named man of the match after his strike just three minutes into the second half proved to be the difference between the rivals.

The emotion the teenager omitted after finding the back of the net for the first time filled West Ham fans with joy and could not have come at a more timely moment.

Having heard reigning Hammer of the Year Arnautovic is eager to turn his back on east London in favour of a move to the lucrative Chinese market, fans were thrilled to see a shining star who is clearly pleased to have committed his future to West Ham.

Rice will surely pick up the Young Hammer of the Year accolade once again, with the possibility of the defensive midfielder also winning the top prize, but he must be in the running to also get his hands on the much-coveted PFA Young Player of the Year gong.

The teenager has been instrumental as Manuel Pellegrini has turned West Ham from a side without an identity in the latter months of Slaven Bilic’s reign and David Moyes’ brief tenure in the hotseat into a team that gets supporters on the edge of their seats.

Despite only turning 20 today, Rice is already controlling the tempo of Premier League matches against world-class players and he did the same against a Unai Emery side boasting the likes of free-scoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Saturday.

While Arnautovic may be in the process of securing a big-money move to China, West Ham’s future is bright with Rice.